Oyster FAQs: How to Use Your Card

Buy a Visitor Oyster card for the cheapest method to pay for single journeys on London's Tube, bus, trains and DLR. Learn how to use your card and top up as you go.

To travel around London with ease, buy a Visitor Oyster card then use the credit, and top up, as you go.

What services can I use with my Visitor Oyster card?

You can use your Visitor Oyster Card on the following transport services in London:

  • Tube
  • Bus
  • Tram
  • Docklands Light Railway (DLR)
  • London Overground trains
  • Most National Rail train services
  • MBNA Thames Clippers river bus services (pay with your Visitor Oyster card and get a 10% discount on single fares on most services)
  • Emirates Air Line cable car (pay with your Visitor Oyster card and get a 25% discount)

What time of day can I use my Visitor Oyster card?

Different travel fares apply depending on which transport services you use, what day of the week and what time of day you travel – it is cheaper to travel at off-peak travel times.

On Tube, DLR, London Overground services and most National Rail services in London: peak fares apply Monday to Friday (not on public holidays) from 06:30 to 09:30 and 16:00 to 19:00; off-peak fares apply at all other times.

A single £1.50 fare on buses and trams is the same at all times, regardless of when you travel.

How do I use my Visitor Oyster card?

On the Tube, DLR, MBNA Thames Clippers river bus services, London Overground and National Rail services, touch your Visitor Oyster card on the yellow card reader at the gates when you start your journey and again when you end your journey. If you don’t touch your card in and out every time, the system will not know which journey you’ve made and you may be charged a maximum fare. You may also face a penalty fare or prosecution.

On buses and trams only touch your card on the yellow card reader at the start of your journey.

What happens if the money runs out on my Visitor Oyster card?

It’s easy to add more credit to your Visitor Oyster card at:

How long does the Visitor Oyster card credit last?

The credit on your card never expires so you can keep your card for your next visit to London or lend it to family and friends to use when they come to London.

Can I use a Visitor Oyster card on the Emirates Air Line?

Yes, if you pay for the Emirates Air Line cable car with your Visitor Oyster card you will get a 25% discount on fares.

Can I use a Visitor Oyster card on River Bus services?

Yes, if you pay for MBNA Thames Clippers river bus services with your Visitor Oyster card you will get a 10% discount on single fares on most routes. Simply tap your card on the yellow disc on the pier before you board and again when you get off. Contactless payments cannot be made for these journeys yet but there are plans for this in 2016. Therefore, pay-as-you-go capping does not apply when using Oyster or Visitor Oyster card to pay.